POLITICS
12/22/2008 03:23 pm ET Updated May 25, 2011

North Carolina's Undervote Problem

In Florida's "butterfly ballot" debacle of 2000, voters in Palm Beach County were so confused by the odd layout that many appear to have voted for the wrong candidate by mistake. At the time, there was a lot of talk about improving ballot design. Eight years later there are still far too many badly done ballots. North Carolina may have the country's worst. It is already causing confusion with early voters. And if the presidential race is close, it could change the outcome.

Like a number of states, North Carolina allows its voters to choose a straight-party ticket. To do that, voters can mark one box and cast votes for all of the nominees of their preferred party. But North Carolina's ballot has an unexpected twist. Even if a voter checks the straight-party box, he or she must vote separately for a presidential candidate.

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